Thanks to a Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes midfield masterclass, Manchester United downed bitter rivals Leeds United 5-1 in the early kick off on Saturday, which was both clubs’ debut game of the new Premier League season.
After a goalless half hour, Fernandes opened the floodgates with a slick finish on 30 minutes set up by Pogba.
For Luke Ayling’s stunning long range equalizer early in the second half, the Frenchman was perhaps at fault for not tracking back and closing down.
But he then redeemed himself with a superb grounded long ball to set up a game Mason Greenwood, who made it 2-1 on 52 minutes while Fernandes completed his hat trick with a further two strikes before the hour mark.
Pogba is so good that he can even assist Fred.
— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) August 14, 2021
“Pogba is so good that he can even assist Fred,” quipped one popular football account, with the number 6’s service to the Brazilian around 20 minutes from time guaranteeing his afternoon ended with no fewer than four assists as Fernandes took the match ball home.
His performance historic, this was the first time that a Manchester United player had achieved Pogba’s “outrageous” feat in a single Premier League game.
Paul Pogba, have yourself an afternoon ??
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 14, 2021
“We gave him the freedom of roaming wherever you want to go and get on the ball,” Pogba’s coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær revealed following the 5-1 win, with some suggesting that five years since he joined from Juventus for a then-world record fee, the Red Devils have finally worked out how to extract the France version of the baller that lit up Euro 2020 before Les Bleus’ last 16 exit to Switzerland.
Such talk is of course premature with 37 fixtures remaining, but while the Mancunians were being hyped as potential title challengers to City’s crown, their foes today have been suspected as possibly suffering from second season syndrome.
Like Yorkshire neighbors Sheffield United, this would entail doing well in their first season back in the top flight, as they did, but then being demoted to the Championship come May next year.
After what we have seen the last 2 seasons, it is absolutely horrific that we have not purchased a back up to Phillips at CDM.If he had a long term injury we would be a big chance of relegation.
— LUFC_Dazza (@lufc_dazza) August 14, 2021
“After what we have seen the last two seasons, it is absolutely horrific that we have not purchased a back up to [England Euro 2020 finalist Kalvin] Phillips in central defensive midfield,” complained one Whites fan.
“If he had a long-term injury we would have a big chance of relegation,” it was added.
In their next fixture, bottom of the league Leeds will try to rise from the foot of the table by overcoming Everton next Saturday.
For a Manchester United outfit looking to keep their momentum, an away trip to Southampton a week a Sunday is their second assignment of the season.